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When the young and sensitive Auguste Saint-Clair notices an Etruscan vase on the mantelpiece of his beloved Mathilde, he becomes gradually consumed by jealousy at the thought that it could be the gift of another man, and the situation escalates dramatically as he demands proof from her that she loves only him. A classic piece of French short fiction, `The Etruscan Vase’ is here presented alongside three other stories: `The Vision of Charles XI’, a dark tale of premonition set in the Swedish royal palace, `Tamango’, an account of a slave-ship revolt, and `The Blue Room’, a supernatural farce and one of Merimee’s final works; as well as two non-fiction pieces: `A Hanging’, a description of a real-life public execution, and `H.B.’, a tribute to Stendhal.
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